Google and Oracle's legal battle over Android rages on, with Google losing a bid to have a damning email draft struck from public record.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) failed
to have sealed an email that suggested the company should ink a licensing
agreement to safely use Oracle's (NASDAQ:ORCL) Java software in its Android
Judge William Alsup, U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of California, wrote Aug. 1 that
Google cannot have the internal email sealed because it is not "protected
by the attorney-client privilege," according to the Wall Street Journal
sued Google for patent and copyright infringement
in August 2010, claiming
Google used Java software technology from Sun Microsystems without permission
to build Android.
Google denied the claims for
most of the last year, but as more details of the situation came to light, the
search giant has suggested
it would be amenable to a settlement
Roughly two weeks before its
litigation with Oracle began, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin asked
Google software engineer Tim Lindholm "to investigate what technical
alternatives exist to Java for Android."
"We have been over a
bunch of these and think they all suck," Lindholm wrote in July 2010.
"We conclude that we need to negotiate a license for Java."
While Google argued that the
email should be protected under attorney-client privilege, Alsup countered in
his opinion Monday that because the message had not actually been sent, it
could not be construed as a communication of any sort.
Google declined to comment
for this report.
Intellectual property expert
Florian Muller told eWEEK
Google's request to have the email sealed and redacted as a "desperate
attempt to suppress evidence and didn't realistically expect the judge to grant
Now that damning document
could put more wood behind Oracle's allegation that Google executives willfully
infringed on the Java patents, which Oracle obtained when it purchased Sun
Microsystems in 2010.
Alsup recently said
Oracle should expect to start its damage requests at around $100 million
though willful infringement in the U.S. calls for a trebling of damages.